IEC Responds and Defends its Stance Amidst Grievances

IEC Chief Sayyad addressed various concerns surrounding the elections in a press conference on Sunday. He first pointed out that 253 polling centres across 22 provinces in Afghanistan will be operational for voting today.

Speaking about the matter of complaints and errors, he defended IEC activities and clarified that it was not so much the mismanagement on IEC’s part that caused problems in the elections, but it was the failure of some staff like the teachers to show up at the centres. He added, “If a teacher employed to handle the voting process doesn’t turn up, it is not our problem.”

Regarding the issue of transfer of ballots, the chief confirmed that ballot boxes transfer has begun from districts to respective provincial centres from which they will be sent to Kabul. Additionally, he informed that 80% of the ballots cast on Saturday have been counted as well.

Another issue that was put up was that of observers. IEC chief believed that some candidates had complaints about their observers not being allowed in stations but the real issue was the some of the candidates had too many observers in a polling station, thus the IEC only denied entry to the extra ones.

On the matter of biometric devices, Mr Sayyad clarified that the biometric system in itself was disabled in many polling centres which was the result of some powerful people’s doing.

The IEC chief also responded to the backlash IEC received from IECC earlier today and said that the latter has only created confusion in people’s mind. He called on the IECC to instead play a complementary role with IEC.

On Saturday and Sunday both, there were reports of candidates intimidating people for vested interests and Sayyad’s response to that was “We will not allow candidates to win the parliamentary seat by force or through fraudulent votes.”

A mutually agreed point between IEC and IECC had been the positive participation of women voters whose turnout was high.

21 / October 2018